Aiea qualifies for states and heads to title game
Fun and gun is back in the Division II state tournament.
Josh Chung scored 13 of his 21 points in the first quarter to lead an early surge for freewheeling Aiea, and Na Alii led wire-to-wire in defeating McKinley 64-53 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Division boys tournament semifinals at Farrington yesterday.
Aiea, the defending OIA White champion, punched its ticket to states for the second straight year against a Tigers team that won the inaugural Division II state title last season.
Na Alii take on Farrington for the OIA title and the league's state-tournament seed tomorrow at McKinley.
Coach Wyatt Tau feels justified after Aiea (15-0) ran the table during regular-season play using the same up-and-down tactics that got it tantalizingly close to taking it all last year before falling to Kohala 76-72. Aiea lurks just out of the Star-Bulletin Top 10.
"Yeah, I have no doubt in our style," the second-year coach said. "We had a lot of help from the bench. Our rotations throughout the season helps our guys with their legs. A lot of our guys that played during the season didn't really get to play that much tonight.
"They just gotta realize the help they gave us during the season allows (the starters) to rest their legs a lot. Coming to the playoffs, I think that's why we're ready to go."
Tau still substituted liberally by most standards. Point guard James Buchanan ran a solid offense with seven points, six assists and five offensive rebounds. Obie Woods added nine points and Zack Hannemann hoarded nine boards.
Chung came out like a starving hawk, flying around the court and stealing three balls en route to five first-period layups. He hit both of his 3-pointers in the second half and was a big difference in making the Tigers play catch-up throughout.
"I was so pumped up. I wanted to win this so bad," Chung said. "McKinley's a good team and all, but then, yeah, I guess we wanted it more. Because we have a lot of seniors on this team (11), we want to win that state title because we came up short last year. This year is all about that state title."
Taller McKinley (11-4) scored more points in each successive quarter of the game, but the Tigers' slow start guaranteed a rough outing playing from behind against crazed Na Alii.
"The problem was the start," McKinley coach Bob Morikuni said of the 20-9 first-period hole. "I mean, we're not a team that's able to catch up quickly. Aiea's a great team. They're well-coached. It's hard to stop them. They're the team to beat in Division II, the whole state, and if we're lucky to play them again the next time, we have to find a way to prevent those runs.
"That's Aiea basketball," he added.
Tana Woodard led the Tigers with 14 points and eight rebounds. His brother, Tavita, and Earvin Sione combined for 14 more rebounds, but their height wasn't enough to negate Na Alii's formidable full-court press and transition game.
Last month, Aiea beat McKinley 66-38 while forcing 27 turnovers. It was more of the same yesterday as Na Alii earned a plus-10 margin in turnovers, causing 25 on the Tigers.
McKinley clawed to within 26-19 in the second quarter and 30-24 in the third before Aiea gradually reasserted control.
The Tigers have two chances to advance to the state tournament: Tomorrow in the third-place game against Kaiser or Saturday in a play-in game with an Interscholastic League of Honolulu opponent.
At Farrington H.S. gym
McKINLEY--Moku Spencer 6, JT Thabiti 8, Earvin Sione 8, Tavita Woodard 5, Tana Woodard 14, Julius Borje 0, Tae Lee 3, Jordan Macalma 2, Marshall Miyasaka 2, Rio Kwon 2, Sio Fiso 0, Jason Sabado 0, Kaleo Ponce 3.
AIEA--Josh Chung 21, James Buchanan 7, Obie Woods 9, Aldodius Colquitt 4, Zack Hannemann 4, Daniel Liilii 8, Keenan Naeole 3, Jarret Vea 2, Jarred McKee 0, David Sevaaetasi 0, Ty Lovell 0, Darryl Fong 0, Keaton Miyashiro 0, Kory Naeole 6, Latupou Faumuina 0, Steven O'Meally 0, Michael Hogan 0.
3-point goals--McKinley none, Aiea 6 (Chung 2, Buchanan, Woods, Keenan Naeole, Kory Naeole).
Farrington 57, Kaiser 42
Christian Hernandez scored five of his 12 points in the first half to lead the Govs past the Cougars in the other White semifinal.
Hernandez hit 3-pointers in both the first and second quarters as Farrington seized control of the game early and took a 30-13 halftime lead.
At Farrington H.S. gym
KAISER -- Jaymes Kawashima 2, Landon Tamanaha 9, Jonathan Lau 0, Mychal Nagata 2, Kalua Noa 16, Ryan Chong 2, Brannon Wong 2, Jeffrey Gordon 0, Devin Wolfe 0, Keola Hunt 0, Patrick Twohy 0, Kainoa Pa 0, Zachary Wong 0, Salele Aliifua 7, Bronson McMoore 2.
FARRINGTON -- Michael Carter 2, Stephen Kamano 8, Jordan Ibana 3, Christian Hernandez 12, Bryson Tatupu-Leopoldo 7, Dio Labayog 0, Oscar Carter 4, Dayton Kealoha 7, Charles Rocha 1, Deo Domingo 0, Joshua Wallace 3, Ephrian Vita 0, Andre Pettis 0, Jayfrey Hernandez 2, Albert Porter 2, Lance Williams 2, Ronald Williams 4.
3-point goals -- Kaiser 4 (Tamanaha 3, Noa 1), Farrington 3 (C. Hernandez 2, Kealoha).
OIA White girls Semifinals
Kailua 30, Campbell 28
Kristen Corrales hit a short elbow jumper with less than 7 seconds left as the Surfriders edged the Sabers to reach tomorrow's title game against McKinley.
Campbell's Aloha Dias-Kekahuna made two free throws with 16 seconds left to tie it at 28 before Kailua called a timeout to set up Corrales' game-winning shot.
At McKinley Student Council gym
Kailua -- Kristen Corrales 13, Tawny Kiko 0, Sola Williams 3, Aui Williams 0, Tianna McKeague 0, Zsalei Kamaka 2, Ka'u Kohatsu 0, Ashley Jacobs 9, Tia Navarro 2, Kahealani Chang 1.
Campbell -- Ama Lui 0, Jazmin Brown 2, Ariel Medlin 2, Vai Confer 9, Aloha Dias-Kekahuna 4, Amber Kaulia 7, Kaitlynn Simmonds 2, Oli Kila 2.
3-point goals -- Kailua 3 (Jacobs 2, Corrales), Campbell 1 (Kaulia).
McKinley 41, Castle 34
The Tigers exploded for 18 second-quarter points en route to the semifinal win over the Knights.
Pearly Togiai led a balanced McKinley attack with 13 points.
At McKinley Student Council gym
CASTLE -- Brandee Sasaki 0, Kori Berinobis 19, Nicki Kobashigawa 5, Kelsea Berinobis 0, Leisha Liilii 2, Leesha Domingo 2, Nicole Aberilla 6, Kree Espinda 0, Candy Ames 0.
MCKINLEY -- Jackie Tihano 12, Crystal Tafai 0, Kylie Sato 11, Pearly Togiai 13, Tatiana Dinson 2, Jorina Faletoi 0, Allyson Villanueva 3, Chelsea Taele 0.
3-point goals -- Castle 4 (Berinobis 3, Kobashigawa), McKinley 4 (Tihano 3, Villanueva).